Not afraid to be a fReAk
You all know, that thanks to that “invention” that is called Bandcamp, we have the chance to listen to the music that we’re fond of, from faraway artists/bands/etc, that otherwise, we couldn’t be able to know not even their existence! Through a very close friend of mine – which I call “Bandcamper” I discovered ROY, last year, with his LP release “Peace Love And Outer Space” (the album made it to TOP-35 of the Best albums of TimeMaZine for the year 2020), instantly I became a follower, an admirer of that guy, hailing from Toronto, Canada, and goes by the name, Roy… Was it because of his extremely 60s-influenced musical creations? Was it because of this mysterious veil around his figure? Is there a band there? A solo artist? A side project? Something else? … But, the deathblow, that made me going to search for this guy, was his latest release, the “Roy’s Garage” album (released in May 2021, check my review here), one of the BEST albums of 2021! You cannot even be so close to what is happening inside this album. All the beautiful Psychedelic 60s are passing by your eyes/ears in just 39 minutes! OK, not all, it’s impossible, but most of them, hehe… So, let’s try to unroll the skein, and learn as much as possible, by the man behind Roy, or by the man who is Roy, or whatever…
TLM: Tell me how it all started with Roy. Any previous band experience?
Roy: I played in a local (Toronto) garage rock group called Vypers for many years which kick-started my need to work on some of my own sounds in the same vein. I’ve been a country songwriter for many years performing around clubs in Canada solo. Now I play in a psych band called Possum.
TLM: What instruments do you play?
Roy: I play any instrument I want to explore on, but my main interests are voice, piano, guitar, and drums.
TLM: Before focusing on the last 2 LP albums of yours… Your Bandcamp page shows these releases: “Roy” (Digital, May 2018), “Sounds Of Parkdale” (Digital/2-tracks Cassette, July 2018), “ROY & AD” (Digital, September 2018), and “Synth Waves While You Sleep” (Digital, March 2020)… Well, it seems (sounds) like you’ve been experimenting a lot with synths, New Age, and Ambient music, among other things!
Roy: Yes I’ve always enjoyed working in mediums that aren’t necessarily musical in nature but more focus on nature’s influence on my ears.
TLM: Let’s talk about “Peace Love And Outer Space”, released as LP+Cassette (also Digital) in April 2020 with 9 tracks. A conceptual album with a very interesting and exciting “plot” (people can read all about Sky Brother, Sky Sister, Stone of Infinite Power, Extraterrestrial life, World Peace, Love, Transmissions, on Roy’s Bandcamp page). What about the music of the album? What were your influences? [*The interesting concept story can be read at the end of this interview]
Roy: The style changes as the songs and stories dictate, each song is supposed to reflect the thoughts during such an experience one may have on life as described by the album.
TLM: Now, let’s go to your latest release. Why you named it Roy’s Garage?
Roy: The garage is a metaphor for storage facilities that exist in the mind. It holds feeling, memories, and ideas unexplored.
TLM: Who took part in the recordings and what machinery did you use?
Roy: I generally am the engineer for 95% of the sessions, I have a studio (Tin Hat Studios) I operate out of my home. I have a variety of old consoles, microphones, and instruments which I use to define the sound.
TLM: Musically, is a very interesting album! A true 60s-influenced LP! Some of the names that came to my mind while listening to it in order to write a review, are Faine Jade, The Fugs, Kim Fowley, Alexander Skip Spence, Del Shannon, David Axelrod, The Electric Prunes, David Peel, Ultimate Spinach, Syd Barrett, Curt Boettcher, Brian Wilson, Tim Buckley, Jake Holmes, Dave Bixby… Well, that’s too many “references” (or “influences” if you prefer) for a single album! Are you a so “60s-well-educated” person as it seems? (of course, the question is a rhetorical one, but you can answer if you wish, hehe…) Please, tell me about your influences, musically and lyrically, that helped you to create this masterpiece called Roy’s Garage…
Roy: I listen to a lot of country music and jazz music like anywhere from the Byrds to Yusef Lateef. A large inspiration for this record were some of the cooler garage comps that came out in the revival period of the 90s like Billy strange present psychedelic unknowns etc.
TLM: Can you describe the music in Roy’s Garage?
TLM: Do you think of performing your music live in front of an audience or you just consider yourself a studio recording project/band/artist (or whatever)?
Roy: There is a live band we have played 3 shows in Toronto. Plans are in the works to bring Roy worldwide.
TLM: Are there any other bands that you like (from your area or from the rest of the world) and you want to share with us?
Roy: So many bands!!
TLM: A comment about the strange pandemic Covid-19 days we are living?
Roy: A great time to stay inside and make music.
TLM: What are we going to expect from Roy in the next days, weeks, months, years?
Roy: More music…
Check Roy TV (Roy’s youtube channel)
Check Roy’s Bandcamp page
PEACE LOVE AND OUTER SPACE, The story…
One sunny morning this past summer, we found an inter-office mailer in the Idée Fixe mailbox. A hastily scrawled west-Toronto address was the only distinguishing mark on the front. We hesitantly uncoiled the red thread and out slid two 5” reel to reel tapes wrapped in tin foil. The distinct smell of solvent wafted out and signaled that the name ‘ROY’ had been written with a chisel tip sharpie on the wrapping only a few hours before. We dug out the old Teac reel-to-reel from behind the couch and spooled up the tape. The psyched-out jams and hook-laden melodies we heard caught us completely off guard. We were oddly transfixed and needed answers. A reply asking for more information was quickly penned and seven business days later we received the following response:
“Regarding your request for an explanation to PEACE LOVE AND OUTER SPACE:
I covered my walls in tin foil, I had to keep out all the different waves that were interrupting my thought patterns. I was almost positive that some form of security system was monitoring my actions. They were listening to my every chord, hearing every syllable. I was on the brink of a psychotic meltdown when the most extraordinary thing happened: in the middle of the night I was jarred out of bed by a green light that dominated my vision even when my eyes were closed.
I stood up and realized there were two figures in my room. I was able to focus slowly. One wore a long silver cloak that shimmered and glowed in the dark like glitter. Shiny red hair and silver skin. Once my eyes adjusted, I had the sensation that I was looking into some sort of multidimensional mirror. It was me, but it was not me. Is it you?
The other figure was positively the most beautiful being I had ever encountered in any of my lives. They had a flowing red cloak, silver skin, and shiny red hair. The two of them took me by the hands led me to their ship. My memory after this point is foggy, as their mental capacity clearly outweighed mine and they somehow had control over my memories. I recall nothing at all, but feeling one and their loving touch. It’s true.
This experience vastly changed my life as I knew it. I dismantled my tin foil room and I destroyed my tin hats. I knew there was no reason to be afraid anymore. Sky Brother and Sky Sister would watch over and protect me. They sent me songs, directly downloaded to my brain that emanated from my fingertips onto guitars, keyboards, drums, and synthesizers. They sent me a transmission that I received through my television and I recorded it onto my machines. They told me it was time to get rid of the bombs, time to embrace peace and love. I knew I had to share this message with the world. I was a messenger of love. I was enlightened by peace, love, and outer space.
Months later I was visited by Sky Brother and Sky Sister again. I entered their spaceship willingly and blissfully. I remember the sensation of hovering and spinning at the perfect pace to calm my systems. They told me that they were going to leave and not return until the time was truly righteous and all minds truly open. They left me with the most powerful gift anyone has ever been given. It was a glowing stone. Within it, I saw the past and future of not only our world but other worlds in and out of this dimension. I refer to this as the STONE OF INFINITE POWER. The Stone was an object of true authority, and it was highly sought after.
After receiving it, my life took a turn for the worse. Harsh frequencies returned at every angle. I rebuilt my tin room in hopes of keeping away the bad waves, but there was no hope. In the mail came a matte black envelope. Inside it was a letter written on a typewriter. It warned me that THE MAN knew that I was in possession of the STONE and it was inevitable that they would be intercepting me.
Within days my home was invaded; I was constrained, sedated, and abducted. When I awoke I was in an aircraft hanger restrained to a metal gurney. I saw bright lights again. I screamed at them, “WHAT HAVE YOU DONE WITH THE STONE?”
It was clear that I was just a pathway to the STONE for them. THE MAN had no interest in my message of peace, love, and outer space. They were hardly interested in my interactions with Sky Brother and Sky Sister. They robbed me of the stone, but they couldn’t take my memories. They left me to be just another deranged abductee in a world of non-believers.
I was returned to my home, but I am not the same as I once was. I do not dream of peace and love. I do not dream. Every day I pray for the return of Sky Brother and Sky Sister. Yet, every day I am reminded of the reality. We are not ready for the teachings of the stone, even though it is already in our heads and hands. Somewhere along the line, we have truly forgotten what being human is about.
Love for one another.
Peace in the world.
We are constantly rotating in outer space, and we are all alike”.